Working Papers

May 1968: The Role of a Special Historical Event in the Evolution of Management Educationin France

In a former paper on the evolution of management education in France (Takagi and de Carlo, 2000), we highlighted the convergence of both the content and structure of programs in five key institutions dealing with management education in France. The first paper was based on archival and documentation research primarily using the neo-institutional approach to understand trends in the evolution of French management education. It identified the need for more qualitative data on the institutions studied to better understand these trends. In this paper therefore, we have chosen to focus on the change within the organizations we are studying, at a particular time in the history of this organizational field. In particular, we noticed in our first paper that new actors had appeared in this field at the end of the 1960’s. These actors appeared concurrently to a major historical event in France, May 1968, which had a profound social, political and economic effect. Our goal in this paper is two fold, to understand how the actors-members of these organizations (professors, assistants, students, members of the administration) lived through this period, and by doing so to identify possible connections between the evolution of the organizational field of French management education at this time and the events of May 68, as well as the identity of each organization. The picture that emerges identifies specific key elements of the changes that took place in management education at the time, that lead to a greater convergence towards the North-American management education model. These elements are not only the result of the institutional environment of the organizations and the technical and economic model created by the United States at the time, but also are a consequence of the location of these organizations, the presence or absence of a charismatic leader among them, as well as the historical events of May 68.
DE CARLO, L. et TAKAGI, J. (2002). May 1968: The Role of a Special Historical Event in the Evolution of Management Educationin France. ESSEC Business School.